The Falcons were very active in this year’s NFL Draft, adding some key position players, including 2 cornerbacks in the first 2 rounds, and addressed other needs like defensive end and tight end.
The Falcons traded up in the first round on Thursday night to make Trufant the No. 22 pick overall. Atlanta swapped the 30th selection and gave up its third- and six-round picks, while acquiring a 2015 seventh-round pick from the Rams. Playing cornerback in the NFL is a family business for Trufant and older brothers Marcus and Isaiah. Marcus Trufant now is a free agent after playing 10 years with Seattle. Isaiah Trufant played in nine games with one start for the New York Jets in 2012. The Falcons are expecting Trufant to compete for a starting job as a rookie, and he says notes he has taken from watching his brothers will help his adjustment. Trufant (6-0, 190) was timed at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash during the combine after starting 47 of 50 games at Washington.
CB, SE Louisiana
Cornerback Robert Alford was too good for the Falcons to pass up in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night, even though Atlanta also selected a cornerback in the first round. Alford, from Southeastern Louisiana, joined Washington’s Desmond Trufant in an unusual first two days for the Falcons’ draft: two picks and two cornerbacks. Alford impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl after recording 10 interceptions, including four in the 2012 season, at Southeastern Louisiana. Alford also returned punts and kickoffs in 2012, taking advantage of his 4.39 speed in the 40-yard dash. Dimitroff said Alford (5-10, 188) may be
Goodman (6-foot-4, 276 pounds) started the last two years at Clemson. He said that coach Mike Smith told him he will compete for the starting job at left end. Goodman and Maponga will join the depth chart at end alongside Jonathan Massaquoi, a fifth-round pick last year, and Cliff Matthews, a seventh-rounder in 2011, behind Umenyiora and Biermann. At Clemson, Goodman learned his position under Da’Quan Bowers, a second-rounder in 2011 for Tampa Bay, and Andre Branch, a second-rounder for Jacksonville last yea. Goodman, who had seven sacks last season and whose eight career forced fumbles rank third in Clemson history, set a single-season school mark two years ago by playing 767 snaps in 14 games.
The Falcons have selected Stanford tight end Levine Toilolo in the fourth round of the NFL draft. The 6-foot-8, 260-pound Toilolo (pronounced Toy-lo-lo) is Atlanta’s first offensive player of the draft after the team used its first three picks for defensive help. Toilolo will have a chance to be mentored by veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez, who put off his retirement plans to return for the 2013 season. Toilolo had 24 catches for 393 yards and four touchdowns in 2012. He had 10 career touchdown catches. The big tight end was the Falcons’ first of four compensatory picks on Saturday, including three in the seventh round.
The Atlanta Falcons traded up 10 spots in the fifth round to select TCU defensive end Stansly Maponga in the fifth round of the NFL draft on Saturday. Maponga was the fourth defensive player drafted by the Falcons over the last three days. Maponga (6-foot-2, 256 pounds) had four sacks and 6.5 tackles for negative yardage last season and was listed as first-team All-Big 12. He missed two games because of a foot injury.
The Falcons selected Central Florida safety Kemal Ishmael in the seventh round of the NFL draft. Ishmael, the fifth defensive player picked by the Falcons during the three-day draft, led Central Florida in tackles and started all 14 games last season. He will compete with Charles Mitchel and Shann Schillinger for snaps behind starters Thomas DeCoud and William Moore. The 5-foot-11, 206-pound Ishmael was voted Conference USA defensive player of the year by the league’s coaches. Ishmael, who started 49 straight games for the Black Knights, had three interceptions, four pass breakups and one sack. He is the third defensive back taken by Atlanta in this year’s draft.
S, Notre Dame
The Falcons selected Notre Dame safety Zeke Motta with their second of three seventh-round picks. Motta was the second straight safety selected by Atlanta in the seventh round, following Central Florida’s Kemal Ishmael one pick earlier. Each was a compensatory pick. Motta, 6-foot-2 and 213 pounds, had 77 tackles and broke up three passes for Notre Dame. He was a team captain. Motta’s 40-yard time of 4.83 seconds at the NFL combine was last among 21 safeties. He was timed at 4.71 seconds at his pro day workout at Notre Dame.
The Falcons closed their NFL draft by selecting Duke quarterback Sean Renfree with their last of three seventh-round picks. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound completed 297 of 442 passes for 3,113 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2012. Renfree provides needed depth at quarterback as he joins starter Matt Ryan and Dominique Davis. The Falcons likely will add another quarterback for training camp. Renfree was a three-year starter at Duke. As a junior, he set the school record by completing 65 percent of his passes — 282 of 434 — for 2,891 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
This story was compiled from Associated Press articles.